Favorites Filter April 7, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Filter filter. Assuming that favorited comments are better than non-favorited comments, wouldn't the next logical step for the favorites system be to provide a way to distill threads down to their essential goodness? How about adding a drop down box at the top of each thread, letting the reader choose to filter out all the comments that don't make the grade -- displaying only the comments that have X number of favorites or more.
posted by Dave Faris to Feature Requests at 9:08 AM (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

You know what happens when you assume?
posted by yhbc at 9:11 AM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


We've talked about this before and I think the conclusion has consistently been that comments lose a lot of their oomph when removed from context and so having this be an essential part of MeFi isn't something that we think is a good idea but would be a great thing to build a Greasemonkey script for. If we're not equating favorites with karma points (some people do, I don't) then this would be sort of an odd way to filter since some people favorite to bookmark, some people favorite to "read later" and some people do it for reasons I can not even begin to imagine. So yeah there are a few reasons we don't want to implement this as a feature.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:12 AM on April 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


no, no, no, and furthermore, DO NOT WANT.
posted by desjardins at 9:12 AM on April 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


Terrible assumption.

I love getting favorited. But sometimes stuff I write that I think is totally favorite-worthy doesn't get favorited, and sometimes throw-away stuff that I probably shouldn't have posted in the first place does get favorited.

And think about how many excellent comments you'd miss out on reading - stuff that you think should be favorited, but no one else does. I mean, mefites are mostly pretty smart and all, but why the hell would you want to trust everyone else around here to always be telling you what you should read via favoriting?
posted by rtha at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm going to repeat what I say every time this comes up:

If I want Slashdot, I'll go to Slashdot. I want MetaFilter when I come to MetaFilter.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:19 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


You could probably build this in greasemonkey.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:21 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I suggested thread discussions, one answer was that the admins did not want to see Metafilter turned into Slashdot. While I question the logic that says that adding a feature magically turns one site into another, I suspect that there would objection to favorite thresholding for the same reason.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the last 24 hours, there were 701 comments posted to the blue, 255 comments posted to the grey, and 634 comments posted to AskMe. 1590 comments, total. And that was a relatively slow Sunday. I understand how many hardcore metafilter users have the time to read and parse through all of those comments, but I think it's asking to much for everyone to devote that much time to the site. Surely a way to distill the site down to it's essential goodness would be of benefit. It works for AlterSlash.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:25 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


if I recall correctly, all of the times that something like this has come up the general concensus has been that favorites are not as much about good comments as one might think. often they're about bookmarks or some other more utilitarian function.
posted by shmegegge at 9:26 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, it worked here. But I have a suspicion Dave doesn't really want something like that, but is trying to highlight some of the idiocy and inanity that happens favoriting zingers and the like.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


one answer was that the admins did not want to see Metafilter turned into Slashdot.

That was a broad way of saying that some of the features that Slashdot has for managing large populations of users are not ones we want to implement here

- karma generally, any more than favorites implies it here
- not moderating content because people can just "mod down" things they don't like and remove it from most people's view thus sort of creating a just under the radar pit of nonsense
- threaded discussions

It's not that we don't want threaded discussion because it will somehow make MeFi into Slashdot, it's that threaded discussions work one way there, we're not interested in having that here, and people who say "well it works for Slashdot" don't make a compelling argument because Slashdot and MeFi are two different sites with general different purposes and ideologies.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The fact that (something like) this is the default view on Slashdot I think explains why Slashdot isn't much good for discussions between commenters. While there's something to be said for a pluralism of ways of interacting with the site, I'm sympathetic to the division of labor arguments here (let Slashdot do this), because the way members read the site feeds back into the way they contribute to the site, which creates economies -- it's better if most users read the site in a way that promotes discussion.
posted by grobstein at 9:29 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


In the last 24 hours, there were 701 comments posted to the blue, 255 comments posted to the grey, and 634 comments posted to AskMe. 1590 comments, total. And that was a relatively slow Sunday. I understand how many hardcore metafilter users have the time to read and parse through all of those comments,

are there people who try to read everything on the whole site? that blow my mind.
posted by shmegegge at 9:29 AM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


oh yes. it blow my mind, indeed.
posted by shmegegge at 9:29 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


If it's favorited for funny, or favorited for insightfullness, or favorited for bookmarking, or favorited for any other possible reason, the fact that 2 or more people favorite something, but don't favorite something else implies some sort of value over just noise.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and, of course, some user out there will favourite every single comment in a thread, rendering the favourite filter useless...
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:31 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I FAVORITED EVERY COMMENT IN THIS THREAD.
posted by quonsar at 9:32 AM on April 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Just because some jackass can drive drunk and hit a tree doesn't mean we don't allow driving.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:34 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


quonsar, if everyone is special then no one is special. When everyone has the same number of favorites then everyone is equally a tard.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I FAVORITED EVERY COMMENT IN THIS THREAD.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


essential goodness

It's just mistaken that favorites indicate "essential goodness." They don't.

We were away for four days a couple of weeks ago, gone to a place with no internets (and yet still in California! Can you imagine?). When we got home, I went all omigodhowamievergoingtogetcaughtuponmetafilter??? Then I realized that I didn't need to. If I missed something really awesome it would probably get referenced somewhere (MeTa, sidebar, etc.), and if it didn't....well, my loss, I guess, but not the end of the world. I did read through some long threads that were pretty much over by the time I got to them, and I enjoyed them even though I hadn't been present for their birth or childhood.
posted by rtha at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


favorites should be like valentines in elementary school. everyone gets one, or nobody does.
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looking at Slashdot does seem to be the best arguments against features like this.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or ...ugh... Plastic.com
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The favorite thing is just a totally unreliable indicator of quality. There are comments of great value that get no favorites, and totally idiotic ones that do get favorites. Even though I do make use of favorites, I use them totally inconsistently, and I've noticed that my habits even vary. Some days I use the favorite option liberally, some days I blow it off - what am I trying to say, anyway? There are some users who don't favorite at all.

Favoriting has some interesting side effects, and I'm not going to advocate for it to go away, at least not at this point. But as an indicator of overall quality, favorites kind of fail.
posted by Miko at 9:40 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just because some jackass can drive drunk and hit a tree doesn't mean we don't allow driving.

Dave, as I said before, I'm sure someone could build it in greasemonkey, but we're not going to do it on the server side right now. If a bunch of people used such a script and said it was a great thing and I tried it and agreed, I might change my tune, but I don't think building a tool to further highlight favorites is a helpful addition to metafilter*



* and I suspect you'd agree and are trying to stir shit up with your insistence that we build it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:41 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Charleton Heston thread has 250 comments. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't really feel like wading in and reading all of that. If I could pull out the 3 or 5 or 10 comments that sum up the different sides of the argument, or the best whatever in that thread, I'd be more likely to read through it. As we get more and more people commenting on the site, it's a question of scale.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:42 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Assuming that favorited comments are better than non-favorited comments,

That's a poor assumption. I have used favourites for:

- Wow, what an insightful comment
- Christ, what a fucking douchebag
- Wow, amazing snark
- Link I want to grab later
- Holy crap, one of the smartest things I have ever read
- I disagree, but it's phrased so well I want to hang on to it

&c &c. The general consensus over past threads that have dealt with this seems to indicate that everyone uses favourites this way. And besides, how would you correct for tehloki? He favourites everything.

the fact that 2 or more people favorite something, but don't favorite something else implies some sort of value over just noise

I would be willing to bet that a highly nontrivial percentage of favourited comments in any 24-hour period are simply one-line snark (or wit, maybe, but let's be realistic here).

Shorter version: No, bad idea.

And, mattamyntexpb, what's the thinking on hiding favourites (publicly)?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:42 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I did think about trying to build a greasemonkey script to do it. I just don't have the skills.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and, of course, some user out there will favourite every single comment in a thread, rendering the favourite filter useless...
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 12:31 PM on April 7 [1 favorite +] [!]

I FAVORITED EVERY COMMENT IN THIS THREAD.
posted by quonsar at 12:32 PM on April 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


....OOPS...forgot the "L" in front of "user"
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:44 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dammit, should have previewed.

The Charleton Heston thread has 250 comments. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't really feel like wading in and reading all of that

Then, um, don't? The thing about assuming that favourites are an indicator of value is that not everyone uses them that way. All you'd be seeing is what people find popular, as opposed to good. Look at the difference between mass-market TV and niche channels for the best illustration of the difference between the two.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:44 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, it is not always good to do things just because they are the next logical step.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:45 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


* and I suspect you'd agree and are trying to stir shit up with your insistence that we build it.

i'd favorite that one twice if i could!
posted by quonsar at 9:47 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pony request: Can I filter out MetaTalk posts that are requesting features that have already been beaten to death a thousand times?
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:48 AM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I want a Greasemonkey script that hides all comments over, say, 12 favourites, that were made by a contact of mine. Why? We hate it when our friends become successful.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:49 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


And if they're Northern, that makes it even worse.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm suggesting that of 2 or more people favorite something, for any of those reasons, then there's something there that's worth reading instead of having to read all of everything and maybe missing some of it. I resent that people are questioning my motives. I only suggested this because I heard a BBS World radio program with Clay Shirky being interviewed, and he was saying that one of the problems with the internet in general is that there's just too much stuff, and that going forward, it's a matter of filtering the best of it out. And I was thinking that it was ironic that the site is called Metafilter when more and more, I don't have the time to wade through the thousands of comments posted here.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dang, no Morrissey flag.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


i think the more favorites you tag, the bigger your username font should get!
posted by quonsar at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


I always love these threads where people bitch and moan about how scanning a longer thread is just to hard, and could the admins please program something to make skimming for awesome one-liners and stuff that will end up on the sidebar easier. I'm sorry, do you have a presentation due soon that will determine whether or not you get a raise? Are you supposed to lead a discussion about the Charlton Heston Death Thread Shitstorm, and you don't want it too look like you didn't do the research? This is just the internet people, if it's drawn out and not holding your attention you can just walk away or skim. Neither of these require special tools on Metafilter's part.
posted by piratebowling at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2008 [12 favorites]


You have a better chance of getting favorited if your comment is super-concise (ideally one sentence) and makes the reader think about things with a new perspective.

Or if it's really long and crams in tons of info.

Part of why those kinds of comments just scream "favorite me!" is because they stand out amid the humdrum of more ordinary-looking comments. They would lose their punch if they were all bunched together. But more importantly, there's just no reason to assume that the popularity of these kinds of comments means that they really are the "best" comments. (I say all this as someone who loves getting favorited.)

Also, there's an easy way to do this without even using a script: just visually skim the thread and look for favorites, or search for the word "favorite."
posted by jejune at 9:54 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Those of us without greasemonkey skills can always just search for "favori" to see which comments have been favorited. I guess that doesn't work too well in a thread about favorites, but it'd probably work OK in that Charlton Heston thread.

In general, I don't think this would be a great feature, because favorites are, as Miko et al point out, a pretty uneven indicator of goodness. We don't need to encourage the one-line snark stuff that often messes threads up.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:58 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Closing at poster's request...
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


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